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If your New Year’s Resolution in 2011 is to get more active in the SQL Server community, you have to get started now.  SQLSaturdays are an easy way to dip your toe in the water because they’re free multi-track events held pretty frequently all over the US.  You can submit sessions online right now for several upcoming SQLSaturdays including:

The View From The Top

The View From The Top

You can submit abstracts right now from the comfort of your cubicle.  There’s no background check, no fees, no scary interview process, just a one-page form to fill out under the “Speakers” link for each SQLSaturday, and that’s it.

Quit putting it off.  Presenting is the fastest way to upgrade your career and your skills.  Yes, writing an abstract is terrifying, and things only get worse when your abstract is actually accepted, because then you have to write the presentation!  Stop surfing and start submitting.

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  1. Just wondering why you skipped the event in Tampa, FL, on Jan 15th. I live near Orlando and will be going to this event. It will be my first SQL Saturday.

  2. ahh… I should have read more closely. I see that now.

  3. Thanks for including SQL Saturday #57, Houston. I have been working very hard to put on this event and make it a success. Just a note that we will be closing to abstracts at the end of the month to make sure we can notify speakers so if they want to speak at the event make sure they get them in soon.

  4. If you live in Florida you are pretty fortunate from a SQL Saturday perspective. Tampa, Orlando, South Florida, Jacksonville, and Pensacola have held SQL Saturdays. I’ve been to SIX so far all in Florida and spoke at all of them.

    I don’t think any other state has this concentration of events. In 2011, Orlando will host the SQL Rally conference.

    I’ve set a goal to speak at a future PASS Summit and these events are necessary to prepare for the Summit.

    So, I’ve submitted two sessions for the Tampa SQL Saturday in Tampa and I’m hoping I get selected. 42 slots open with 105 sessions submitted. This was an excellent event last year and I expect more of the same. The organizers have landed Denny Cherry and Stacia Misner to do pre-cons. If you want to learn PowerShell, Microsoft’s own Scripting Guy and Scripting Wife will be in attendance. BTW, my talks are about PowerShell.

    I am definitely a better IT Pro for attending community events like SQL Saturday and User Group meetings.

    You can’t help getting smarter if you rub elbows with the people that attend these events.

    The final benefit for getting involved is that you won’t feel like a FIRST TIMER when you go to your first PASS Summit like I did this year.

  5. Brent – Thank you for the virtual kick in the pants.

    I have presented a couple times [in Florida] and really enjoyed doing it. I have had the interest to present more, as it is quite enjoyable to help others, spread the word, and network. What is stopping me is the nagging feeling of “Are my presentations informative enough? Are the topics interesting? What kind of information would folks be interested in seeing?” Once an idea is hatched, the many hours of research, construction and practice begins then the best part – the delivery [which I enjoy the most!].

    The reason I post this is I am sure there are many folks out there in the same boat as myself – capable presenters who have the knowledge, but are missing that little bit of direction as to what people are interested in. Do you have any words of wisdom, resources you can share, etc. on presentation selection? I think everything that can possibly be presented has, so coming up with something completely new is next to impossible, but in your experience what are some of the crowd generators?

    By no means is this an attempt to steal your ideas – wouldn’t want to end up on the plagarism list! :) Please consider this just a professional question to help out the community.

    Thanks in advance,
    John

  6. Thanks for the Phoenix Mention. We were postponed but now we are back!! I know that I have submitted to do a Powershell session and that is due, in part, to a twitter conversation with the one and only Brent Ozar. Thanks for all you do in the community including plugging these events. Look forward to seeing some of you in Phoenix.

  7. Only one problem Brent..Kansas City, KS isn’t on your list!!

  8. Oooo Brent I just missed getting a mention.. (SQL Sat 45). Oh well perhaps next time.

  9. I want to make a plug for the local and not so local User Groups. Venues like SQL Saturday are great or I would not continue to work with them. But getting out there should really start at the user group level. Please don’t forget to offer your services locally before traveling to the next state. One of the biggest concerns I hear from UG leaders is that they have issues finding speakers. This as one of the reasons SQL Saturday started – to grow a local group of speakers.

    I am very lucky to have so many talented speakers locally – but even more blessed that a majority of those stay active in our local user groups. They are the ones that encourage the next generation that they too can get up there and contribute because the guy sitting next to them contributes. It all starts at home.

    • Pam – that’s true, local user groups are a great place to start.

      And now here comes my PASS Rant of the Day (TM). Every year, PASS accepts submissions for the Summit. Hundreds of sessions are submitted from speakers all over the world on a wide range of topics. As part of that submission process, PASS also gathers our home cities, too. If local user groups are really so desperate for speakers, why isn’t PASS emailing the Summit submission list folks on a regular basis, giving them a list of user groups in their area that need speakers? It’s a data problem, and we’re data people. Figure it out.

      Not ranting at you, of course – you’re not part of the problem. (sigh)

      • Very good question and one I have not posed. Unfortunately when organizations get as large as PASS there is a lot of left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing and a lot of hiding behind privacy policies.

        Maybe this year, submissions should require a disclaimer to share info with UGs within a certain radius of the speaker’s location. Personally, I feel no one should be considered if they have not spoken at a PASS UG within the previous year. This would be one way for PASS to support the local chapters. Local groups would have less of an issue finding speakers if the Summit speakers had to speak locally for consideration.

        I’m just saying… Summit wants the local groups to push attendance at Summit. Maybe Summit should push speakers to the local UG.

        My original point is that not much is said to push speaking at a local level. I have done little to put my name out there other than keep pushing for the best I can get for my local group. I have never given a presentation outside of FL – my backyard – yet to my amazement – many claim to know who I am. I am just trying to take care of home first.

        • Pam – ooo, you hit another one of my hot buttons. For the last three years, I’ve told the PASS Board that exact same thing – people shouldn’t be allowed to speak at the Summit until they’ve given the same presentation regionally or locally. It’s not enough just to speak at a local user group – they need to practice the session locally lest they bomb internationally. I’m a huuuuge believer in that. I don’t think PASS is ever going to step up to the plate on that one.

          • Brent, I’d like to see the day come when no one speaks at the Summit without paying their dues first, and more importantly, has proven their ability to deliver the goods. I think we’re in a transition mode right now. We’re growing the speaker pool successfully. Getting the speaker bureau done (blame me for the delay on that) will help so we can see the stuff more easily, but I know this past year the program team did review the list of SQLSaturday speakers as some part of the eval process. Maybe time to do an analysis to see how many of the 2010 Summit speakers have NOT done a SQLSaturday, and see if we’re close to being able to apply the rule.

            I’ve long said we should have a farm club system. User groups, then SQLSaturday, SQLRally for some, then shoot for the bigs.

            Allen Kinsel still owns the program, so he’s the guy to push on:-)

        • Many of our user groups are always looking for speakers and this is one area PASS has done a poor job with. Having names of speakers from your area would be a great start.
          Let’s rant some more about this.

  10. Wheres the NYC love ? lol … Maybe I’ll check out the one in Philly, do they update what the topics will cover as the event comes up ?

  11. Well, I’m taking the plunge! I just submitted my first application. I don’t get nervous, but all of a sudden there was a sudden rush. Did you get the same when you made the transition to speaker?

    • Shannon – funny you say that, one of the things Buck Woody mentioned in our recent how-to-present presentation at the PASS Summit talked about nervousness. You should be nervous every time you submit or present. If you’re not nervous, you’re about to fail, because you’ve become overconfident and it’s going to show. I still get nervous submitting sessions, and I get nervous in the hours leading up to the presentation. Are people going to get it? Will they ask questions? Will I flub up? Will my laptop crash? It’s always nerve-wracking, but the more you do it, the faster you lose those nerves. Within the first slide or two now, I’m at home. I love it.

  12. Pingback: Dont have to be an expert to speak | JohnSterrett.com

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